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Personal Life

Beethoven's love life was hampered by class issues. In late 1801 he met a young
countess, Julie ("Giulietta") Guicciardi through the Brunsvik family, at a time
when he was giving regular piano lessons to Josephine Brunsvik. Beethoven mentio
ns his love for Julie in a November 1801 letter to his boyhood friend, Franz Weg
eler, but he could not consider marrying her, due to the class difference. Beeth
oven later dedicated to her his Sonata No. 14, now commonly known as the "Moonli
ght sonata" or "Mondscheinsonate" (in German).[66]
His relationship with Josephine Brunsvik deepened after the death in 1804 of her
aristocratic first husband, the Count Joseph Deym. Beethoven wrote Josephine 15
passionate love letters from late 1804 to around 1809/10. Although his feelings
were obviously reciprocated, Josephine was forced by her family to withdraw fro
m him in 1807. She cited her "duty" and the fact that she would have lost the cu
stodianship of her aristocratic children had she married a commoner.[67] After J
osephine married Baron von Stackelberg in 1810, Beethoven may have proposed unsu
ccessfully to Therese Malfatti, the supposed dedicatee of "Für Elise";[68] his stat
us as a commoner may again have interfered with those plans.
Life mask made in 1812
In the spring of 1811 Beethoven became seriously ill, suffering headaches and hi
gh fever. On the advice of his doctor, he spent six weeks in the Bohemian spa to
wn of Teplitz. The following winter, which was dominated by work on the Seventh
symphony, he was again ill, and his doctor ordered him to spend the summer of 18
12 at the spa Teplitz. It is certain that he was at Teplitz when he wrote a love
letter to his "Immortal Beloved."[69] The identity of the intended recipient ha
s long been a subject of debate; candidates include Julie Guicciardi, Therese Ma
lfatti, Josephine Brunsvik, and Antonie Brentano.
Beethoven visited his brother Johann at the end of October 1812. He wished to en
d Johann's cohabitation with Therese Obermayer, a woman who already had an illeg
itimate child. He was unable to convince Johann to end the relationship and appe
aled to the local civic and religious authorities. Johann and Therese married on
9 November.[70]
Beethoven in 1814. Portrait by Louis-René Létronne.
In early 1813 Beethoven apparently went through a difficult emotional period, an
d his compositional output dropped. His personal appearance degradedâ it had generall
y been neatâ as did his manners in public, especially when dining. Beethoven took car
e of his brother (who was suffering from tuberculosis) and his family, an expens
e that he claimed left him penniless.
Beethoven was finally motivated to begin significant composition again in June 1
813, when news arrived of the defeat of one of Napoleon's armies at Vitoria, Spa
in, by a coalition of forces under the Duke of Wellington. This news stimulated
him to write the battle symphony known as Wellington's Victory. It was first per
formed on 8 December, along with his Seventh Symphony, at a charity concert for
victims of the war. The work was a popular hit, probably because of its programm
atic style, which was entertaining and easy to understand. It received repeat pe
rformances at concerts Beethoven staged in January and February 1814. Beethoven'
s renewed popularity led to demands for a revival of Fidelio, which, in its thir
d revised version, was also well received at its July opening. That summer he co
mposed a piano sonata for the first time in five years (No. 27, Opus 90). This w
ork was in a markedly more Romantic style than his earlier sonatas. He was also
one of many composers who produced music in a patriotic vein to entertain the ma
ny heads of state and diplomats who came to the Congress of Vienna that began in
November 1814. His output of songs included his only song cycle, "An die ferne
Geliebte," and the extraordinarily expressive second setting of the poem "An die

Compared to its first setting in 1805 (a gift for J osephine Brunsvik)...Hoffnung" (Op. The entire spirit is that of a n operatic scena. it was "far more dramatic ."[71] . 94) in 1815.